PPP survey finds 66% of Floridians support EPA clean power plan


President Barack Obama says the plan he announced on Monday to reduce climate change is “the biggest, most important step we have ever taken” to deal with the issue.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power stations by nearly a third within 15 years. It calls for placing significant emphasis on wind and solar power and other renewable energy sources.

There has been significant pushback by Republicans and officials in coal-producing states, and attorneys general in Ohio and West Virginia say they’ll sue the EPA to derail the proposals.

However, a new survey in Florida and seven other presidential battleground states done for the group United for Change shows strong support for Obama’s proposal.

Sixty-six percent of Floridians support the plan, says Tom Jensen, pollster with Public Policy Polling.

“There is no state more so than Florida where if Republicans can’t win … they can’t win the election,” Jensen told reporters on a conference call Wednesday. “And what we found in Florida is that voters there were even more overwhelmingly in supportive of this stuff, and more than the battleground states as a whole.”

The poll shows that 66 percent of those Floridians surveyed support the plan, with just 31 percent opposed. Not only is it winning in the Sunshine State among Democrats and independents, but Jensen said that Republicans in Florida narrowly support it as well, by a 50-49 percent margin.

Jeb Bush calls the plan “overreaching” and “irresponsible,” while Marco Rubio accused the president of playing class warfare with the plan.

“So if there’s some billionaire somewhere who is a pro-environmental, cap-and-trade person, yeah, they can probably afford for their electric bill to go up a couple of hundred dollars,” Rubio said about the plan while speaking at the Koch Brothers network event for potential GOP donors on Sunday. “But if you’re a single mom in Tampa, Florida, and your electric bill goes up by $30 a month, that is catastrophic.”

All of the other GOP presidential candidates followed suit in criticizing the plan, and the president on Monday. Ted Cruz said accused Obama of engaging in a “lawless and radical attempt to destabilize the nation’s energy system.”

After the E.P.A. made public the proposal in June 2014, 14 states filed suit against the administration. But earlier this year the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit rejected the legal challenge, saying it was unprecedented for a court to review a rule that had been introduced only in the form of a draft.

Some of those coal-producing states are now filing suits, and others will follow.

The PPP poll surveyed eight swing states in all, and overall the plan gets a 58-40 percent approval rating. Those states in addition to Florida are Minnesota, Colorado, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

PPP’s Jensen says that translates to Democrats supporting the proposal, 81-16 percent. Independents support it by a 58-40 percent margin. Republicans reject it, but only by a 44-53 percent breakdown.

“I think that really just goes to show what kind of common sense thing this is that voters are so enthusiastic about it,” Jensen said. “To have such substantial Republican support as well shows that people care about clean air, clean health and that’s why you see such overwhelming support.”

Forty-three  percent of voters across the eight swing states also said they would be more favorable toward a politician who supported the plan and wanted to implement it. Thirty-one percent said it would be less favorable. And 59 percent say that individual states should reject Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s call for the states to ignore the EPA and not develop a plan to cut carbon pollution, and just 31 percent agree.

“These polls make one thing crystal clear,” says Debbie Sease, national campaign director at Sierra Club. “Anybody who is serious about winning an election in these key states need to get serious about the clean power plan.”

Public Policy Polling surveyed 4,517 registered voters in Florida, Minnesota, Colorado, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia between July 31 – August 3 for Americans United for Change. The survey’s margin of error is +/- 1.5 percent.

Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at [email protected].


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